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Wall to separate problematic renters in Czech town - press

Havlickuv Brod, East Bohemia, 28.8.2007 11:13, (CTK)

The Town Hall in Havlickuv Brod is considering building a wall to separate the house where it had moved problematic families, mostly Romanies, several years ago from neighbouring residents, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.

The house near a railway station is inhabited by 12 families, 11 of whom are of Romany origin. The renters make mess in the area and police often have to arrive to solve their conflicts, the paper writes.

"The proposal [to build a wall] has been made by local residents. We are seriously considering it," town deputy mayor Cenek Juzl is quoted as saying.

"They are socially inadaptable. They bother their neighbours, make mess and break parked cars," Juzl says.

The residents of the neighbouring block of flats, run by a housing cooperative, who share a yard with the problematic families often complain about their behaviour.

"The problematic families started devastating everything they see in the common yard. They are aggressive, smash windows, break off car mirrors and aerials, their children jump over the cars and throw stones into the cellar," neighbouring house representative Rudolf Stara is quoted as saying.

The local residents therefore want a fence or wall to divide the courtyard into two parts.

"There is a conflict every week. To separate the two houses would be the best solution," Juzl says.

The town hall, however, wants the fence or wall to be paid by the housing cooperative.

According to Juzl, the situation cannot be compared to the case of the ill-famed Maticni street in Usti nad Labem.

The Maticni street became a symbol of Romanies' problems in October 1999 when Usti nad Labem authorities started to build a fence there, saying they wanted to protect the owners of private houses who repeatedly complained about the noise and disorder made by the residents of flats for rent defaulters on the other side of Maticni street.

However, the residents of the flats, mostly Romanies, protested against the fence, along with Czech and foreign human rights activists, as they viewed it as an expression of racism.
The ceramic fence was dismantled after six weeks.

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